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Tesla shares tumble more than 10% following deliveries report

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Tesla vehicles are shown at a sales and service center in Vista, California, June 3, 2022.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Shares of Tesla dropped 13% on Tuesday morning, a day after the electric auto maker reported fourth-quarter vehicle production and delivery numbers for 2022.

Deliveries are the closest approximation of sales disclosed by Tesla. The company reported 405,278 total deliveries for the quarter and 1.31 million total deliveries for the year. These numbers represented a record for the Elon Musk-led automaker and growth of 40% in deliveries year over year, but they fell shy of analysts’ expectations.

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According to a consensus of analysts’ estimates compiled by FactSet, as of Dec. 31, 2022, Wall Street was expecting Tesla to report around 427,000 deliveries for the final quarter of the year. Estimates updated in December, and included in the FactSet consensus, ranged from 409,000 to 433,000.

Those more recent estimates were in line with a company-compiled consensus distributed by Tesla investor relations Vice President Martin Viecha. 

Some Wall Street analysts think Tesla’s deliveries miss spells trouble for the electric vehicle maker, but others see a buying opportunity for the company in 2023.

Baird analyst Ben Kallo, who recently named Tesla a top pick for 2023, maintained an outperform rating and said he would remain a buyer of the stock ahead of the company’s earnings report, which is scheduled for Jan. 25.

“Q4 deliveries missed consensus but beat our estimates,” he said in a Tuesday note. “Importantly, production increased ~20% q/q which we expect to continue into 2023 as gigafactories in Berlin and Austin continue to ramp.”

Analysts at Goldman Sachs said they consider the delivery report to be an “incremental negative,” and view Tesla as a company that is “well positioned for long-term growth.” Goldman reiterated its buy rating on the stock in a Monday note and said that making vehicles more affordable in a challenging macroeconomic environment will be a “key driver of growth.”

“We believe key debates from here will be on whether vehicle deliveries can reaccelerate, margins and Tesla’s brand,” the analysts said.

Shares of Tesla suffered an extreme yearlong sell-off in 2022, prompting CEO Musk to tell employees in late December not to be “too bothered by stock market craziness.”

Musk has blamed Tesla’s declining share price in part on rising interest rates. But critics point to his rocky $44 billion Twitter takeover as a bigger culprit for the slide.

Morgan Stanley analysts said they think the company’s share price weakness is a “window of opportunity to buy.”

“Between a worsening macro backdrop, record high unaffordability, and increasing competition, there are hurdles for all auto companies to overcome in the year ahead,” they said in a note Tuesday. “However, within this backdrop we believe TSLA has the potential to widen its lead in the EV race, as it leverages its cost and scale advantages to further itself from the competition.”

CNBC’s Lora Kolodny and Michael Bloom contributed to this report.


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Two children and two adults survive after Tesla plunges 250 feet off California cliff

View from the helicopter during a rescue operation after a vehicle carrying two adults and two children went over a cliff in Devil’s Slide, San Mateo county, California, U.S., January 2, 2023, plunging hundreds of feet, according to the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, in this still image obtained from social media video.

CHP – Golden Gate Division | Reuters

Two adults and two children were rescued from a Tesla that plunged 250 feet off a cliff Monday morning in San Mateo County, California, officials said. 

The car was traveling southbound on the Pacific Coast Highway when it went over the cliff at Devil’s Slide, south of the Tom Lantos tunnel, and landed near the water’s edge below, the Cal Fire San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit said. 

The car flipped and landed on its wheels in the fall, CAL FIRE/Coastside Fire Incident Commander Brian Pottenger said. Witnesses saw the accident and called 911. 

As crews were lowered down, they were able to see movement in the front seat, through their binoculars, meaning someone was alive.

“We were actually very shocked when we found survivable victims in the vehicle. So, that actually was a really hopeful moment for us,” Pottenger said. 

Fire officials called for helicopters to help hoist the survivors to safety. As they waited, firefighters rappelled to the scene and rescued the two children.

Rescue teams are seen at the scene as a Tesla with four occupants plunged over a cliff on Pacific Coast Highway 1 at Devils Slide on January 2, 2022 in San Mateo County, California, United States.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

The California Highway Patrol shared video on social media showing helicopters lower first responders to the scene to extricate and rescue two adults inside. 

All four were hospitalized. The San Mateo Sheriff’s Office said the two adults suffered non-life-threatening injuries and the two children were unharmed.

It’s not clear what caused the car to go over the cliff. CHP is handling the investigation. 

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Tesla makes China boss Tom Zhu its highest-profile executive after Elon Musk

Tom Zhu Xiaotong, Tesla’s current executive in charge of China, speaks as a new Tesla experience store opens on Aug. 18, 2015 in Hangzhou, China.

Visual China Group | Getty Images

Tesla’s China chief Tom Zhu has been promoted to take direct oversight of the electric carmaker’s U.S. assembly plants as well as sales operations in North America and Europe, according to an internal posting of reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

The Tesla posting showed that Zhu’s title of vice president for Greater China had not changed and that he also retained his responsibilities as Tesla’s most senior executive for sales in the rest of Asia as of Tuesday.

The move makes Zhu the highest-profile executive at Tesla after Chief Executive Elon Musk, with direct oversight for deliveries in all of its major markets and operations of its key production hubs.

The reporting lines for Zhu would keep Tesla’s vehicle design and development — both areas where Musk has been heavily involved — separate while creating an apparent deputy to Musk on the more near-term challenges of managing global sales and output.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

Reuters reviewed the organizational chart that had been posted internally by Tesla and confirmed the change with two people who had seen it. They asked not to be named because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

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Zhu and a team of his reports were brought in by Tesla late last year to troubleshoot production issues in the United States, driving an expectation among his colleagues then that he was being groomed for a bigger role.

Zhu’s appointment to a global role comes at a time when Musk has been distracted by his acquisition of Twitter and Tesla analysts and investors have urged action that would deepen the senior executive bench and allow him to focus on Tesla.

Under Zhu, Tesla’s Shanghai plant rebounded strongly from Covid lockdowns in China.

Tesla said on Monday that it had delivered 405,278 vehicles in the fourth quarter, short of Wall Street estimates, according to data compiled by Refinitiv.

The company had delivered 308,600 vehicles in the same period a year earlier.

The Tesla managers reporting to Zhu include: Jason Shawhan, director of manufacturing at the Gigafactory in Texas; Hrushikesh Sagar, senior director of manufacturing at Tesla’s Fremont factory; Joe Ward, vice president in charge of Europe, the Middle East and Africa; and Troy Jones, vice president of North America sales and service, according to the Tesla notice on reporting lines reviewed by Reuters.

Tesla country managers in China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand continued to report to Zhu, the notice showed.

Zhu does not have a direct report at Tesla’s still-ramping Berlin plant, but a person with knowledge of the matter said responsibility for that operation would come with the reporting line for Amsterdam-based Ward. Ward could not be immediately reached for comment.

Zhu, who was born in China but now holds a New Zealand passport, joined Tesla in 2014. Before that he was a project manager at a company established by his MBA classmates at Duke University, advising Chinese contractors working on infrastructure projects in Africa.

During Shanghai’s two-month Covid lockdown, Zhu was among the first batch of employees sleeping in the factory as they sought to keep it running, people who work with him have said.

Zhu, a no-fuss manager who sports a buzz cut, favors Tesla-branded fleece jackets and has lived in a government-subsidized apartment that is a 10-minute drive from the Shanghai Gigafactory. It was not immediately clear whether he would move after his promotion.

He takes charge of Tesla’s main production hubs at a time when the company is readying the launch of Cybertruck and a revamped version of its Model 3 sedan. Tesla has also said it is developing a cheaper electric vehicle but has not provided details on that plan.

When Tesla posted a picture on Twitter last month to celebrate its Austin, Texas, plant hitting a production milestone for its Model Y, Zhu was among hundreds of workers smiling on the factory floor.

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Allan Wang, who was promoted to vice president in charge of sales in China in July, was listed as the legal representative for the operation in registration papers filed with Chinese regulators in a change by the company last month.

Tesla board member James Murdoch said in November the company had recently identified a potential successor to Musk without naming the person. Murdoch did not respond to a request for comment.

Electrek previously reported that Zhu would take responsibility for U.S. sales, delivery and service.

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Gemini’s Winklevoss accuses crypto mogul Silbert of ‘bad faith stalling tactics’ over frozen funds

Tyler Winklevoss and Cameron Winklevoss (L-R), co-founders of crypto exchange Gemini, on stage at the Bitcoin 2021 Convention in Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Cameron Winklevoss, president and co-founder of digital currency exchange Gemini, accused the head of crypto conglomerate Digital Currency Group of engaging in “bad faith” tactics but insists he wants to resolve a complex lending dispute with the company that emerged in the wake of FTX’s collapse.

The spat arises from a pact Gemini has with Genesis Global Capital, the lending arm of crypto investment firm Genesis Global Trading, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group. Gemini offered users yields as high as 8% via its lending product Gemini Earn. To generate those returns, Gemini lent users’ funds to Genesis Global Capital, which in turn loaned them out to institutional borrowers.

A few days after FTX filed for bankruptcy, Gemini paused redemptions for its Gemini Earn service as Genesis Global Capital also suspended new loan originations and redemptions. Gemini has denied any exposure to Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto empire, but Genesis said in a Nov. 10 tweet that its derivatives business has roughly $175 million in funds locked on FTX.

Winklevoss on Monday penned an open letter to Digital Currency Group boss Barry Silbert, alleging Silbert refused to meet with the Gemini team on multiple occasions to find a resolution to the liquidity crisis facing clients of Gemini Earn.

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According to the letter, Gemini Earn clients are owed more than $900 million from Genesis.

“For the past six weeks, we have done everything we can to engage with you in a good faith and collaborative manner in order to reach a consensual resolution for you to pay back the $900 million that you owe, while helping you preserve your business,” Winklevoss said in the letter, which was tweeted publicly on Monday.

“We appreciate that there are startup costs to any restructuring, and at times things don’t go as fast as we would all like. However, it is now becoming clear that you have been engaging in bad faith stall tactics.”

‘Beyond commingled’

Winklevoss accused Silbert of hiding behind behind “lawyers, investment bankers, and process,” adding, “After six weeks, your behavior is not only completely unacceptable, it is unconscionable.” He also alleged that Digital Currency Group and Genesis are “beyond commingled.”

Digital Currency Group owes Genesis $1.675 billion. The debts consist of a $575 million liability due in May 2023, and a $1.1 billion promissory note Genesis issued to Three Arrows Capital, which Digital Currency Group absorbed following the controversial crypto hedge fund’s collapse.

“To be clear, this mess is entirely of your own making. Digital Currency Group (DCG) — of which you are the founder and CEO — owes Genesis (its wholly owned subsidiary) ~1.675 billion,” Winklevoss said.

“This is money that Genesis owes to Earn users and other creditors. You took this money — the money of schoolteachers — to fuel greedy share buybacks, illiquid venture investments, and kamikaze Grayscale NAV [net asset value] trades that ballooned the fee-generating AUM [assets under management] of your Trust; all at the expense of creditors and all for your own personal gain.”

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In addition to Genesis, Digital Currency Group also owns Grayscale, the embattled digital asset manager. Grayscale is facing difficulties of its own, with its Grayscale Bitcoin Trust trading at a 45% discount to the price of its underlying asset even as bitcoin trades at multiyear lows.

“DCG did not borrow $1.675 billion from Genesis,” Silbert said in reply to Winklevoss’ tweet Monday.

“DCG has never missed an interest payment to Genesis and is current on all loans outstanding; next loan maturity is May 2023,” he added. “DCG delivered to Genesis and your advisors a proposal on December 29th and has not received any response.”

‘Time is running out’

Despite the fiery exchange, Winklevoss said he wants to reach a solution to the liquidity crunch by Jan. 8. “We remain ready and willing to work with you, but time is running out,” he said.

A Gemini spokesperson declined to comment further on the matter when contacted by CNBC.

The accusations from Winklevoss against Silbert come as his crypto exchange Gemini faces legal threats from users. A group of investors filed a class action lawsuit against the company, alleging that it sold its Earn interest-bearing accounts without first registering them as securities. Crypto lender BlockFi was forced to pay the Securities and Exchange Commission and 32 states $100 million in penalties to settle charges that its retail lending product violated U.S. securities laws.

Three Arrows Capital co-founder Zhu Su also weighed in on the matter Tuesday. In a Twitter thread, Su said that Digital Currency Group “took substantial losses in the summer from our bankruptcy” and other firms impacted by the failure of algorithmic stablecoin terraUSD. Su, whose company collapsed into insolvency after making risky bets across the industry, has been active on Twitter even as lawyers seek to establish his whereabouts and reportedly faces investigations from U.S. regulators.

Gemini and Genesis are the latest firms to get caught up in the messy, entangled contagion resulting from FTX’s fall into bankruptcy last year.

Evgeny Gaevoy, founder and CEO of crypto market maker Wintermute, said in a November interview that industry contagion is expected to be widespread “because anyone in the crypto space and beyond crypto could have been exposed to them one way or another.” Wintermute itself had funds stuck on FTX, the amount of which was “within our risk tolerances and does not have a significant impact on our overall financial position,” according to a Nov. 9 tweet.

— CNBC’s Ari Levy, MacKenzie Sigalos and Rohan Goswami contributed to this report.

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